SW-8 :: Biodiversity and ecosystem services

This interdisciplinary research area is relatively new and one of the major challenges is how knowledge can be better used in the management of ecosystem services and biodiversity by for example central government agencies, county administrative boards, municipalities and industry. Land and soil are sources for important services for human well-being and as such they provide a near-term stimulus to economic growth (Vincent, 2012). Land use and land use changes are closely related to biodiversity and ecosystem services. The complexity of the area can be illustrated by the not obvious trade-offs between climate change and biodiversity and how to determine what degree of climate change that corresponds to what change in biodiversity (e.g. Andersson et al (2012) and Olsson et al (2012)). Formas (2015a) analysed on-going research, knowledge gaps and needs and identified several concerns. The research topics below origin in this analysis.
Following the conceptual model of INSPIRATION, specific topics marked “SH” originate in stakeholder interviews and the workshop and those marked “CN” originate in general research goals identified in the Swedish innovation and research bill, evaluations of Swedish research or identified by other concerned research centres.
• What are the differences in valuations of stakeholder, individual and collective values, what is the temporal and context dependence of valuation, what methods can be used to in practice to manage values expressed in different terms (monetary, qualitative, quantitative) and how is precision in the valuation of different types of ecosystem services best achieved?
Natural Capital
• Which are the functional links and causal relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services and benefits?
• How can ecosystem functions in practice be measured and compared and how can awareness be raised of what can be measured at present?
• Which are the thresholds related to ecological and social resilience, with focus on how the concept resilience can become operational and used as a communication tool?
• How can/is/should less evident/visible ecosystem functions and services be included/accounted for, such as soil processes and certain cultural ecosystem services?
Land Management
• Trans-sectorial instruments for steering and governance are needed, and need to be assessed. How do different instruments affect each other and which are the effects of different levels and ambitions in the instruments?
• What are the institutional change requirements linked to, among other things, property rights, governance and solidified norms and values?
• How and with what instruments for steering and governance can we handle changes in society, in values and preferences?
• How do different trans-sectorial instruments for steering and governance affect each other and which are the effects of different levels and ambitions in the instruments?
Why and what?
Innovative instruments for steering and governance and scenarios and predictive and experimental approaches (e.g. ecological compensation) and models are needed. This includes a need of development of instruments as such and a need for processes for adaption and follow-up of instruments developed and used.
Net Impact
• What is the effect on biodiversity and ecosystem services when introducing them in planning processes such as environmental impact assessments and spatial planning?
• What is the connection between life style and consumption of ecosystem services and the consumers’ dependence of and effect on ecosystem services including issues related to consumer awareness and responsibility?
• What are the effects of introducing economical risk assessment in e.g. environmental impact assessments?